Doubling Up: Zecco and TradeKing Are Merging

July 1, 2013

I’m excited to share some big news with you. Zecco and TradeKing have agreed to join forces and merge their businesses. We’re convinced that this strategic move will build a better online brokerage for all customers at both our firms, now and in the long-term.

For those of you unfamiliar with TradeKing, I’ll gladly provide some background.

Zecco and TradeKing entered the online brokerage market at around the same time, and the gauntlet we threw down to the traditional firms was very similar. We believed self-directed investors were tired of confusing pricing tiers, indifferent customer service, and a monolithic, one-way relationship with their online broker.

So, we each built an online community for investors, harnessing social media’s potential to make us all better connected and informed traders. And although Zecco’s value proposition evolved over the years, the underlying philosophy remained firm – and remarkably akin in spirit to TradeKing’s.

When I became Zecco’s CEO in 2009, my strategic objective was to take Zecco – and the customer experience we deliver every day – to the next level. Meanwhile, I always kept my eye on TradeKing as the “other” online brokerage that really “got it.” That’s not surprising really, given that the guy at the helm of their business and I go back a long way.

TradeKing CEO Don Montanaro and I first befriended each other in middle school in Southbury, CT, and stayed in touch ever since. We worked side-by-side at Quick & Reilly and knew we had both found our passion in discount brokerage. Our careers followed parallel paths from there.

When I considered Zecco’s prospects for future growth, a merger with TradeKing made immediate sense. Our company cultures, philosophies and business propositions are very similar. Our main pricing points are the same (and will remain the same post-merger): $4.95 per stock or options trade plus 65c per options contract. And each firm brings immediate product upgrades to the other.

Zecco clients will gain access to TradeKing’s top-ranked suite of options tools, Fixed Income platform, great investing education section and award-winning customer service. In turn, we’ll give TradeKing’s customers access to forex trading, and our highly-rated mobile trading apps for both iPhone and Android. The immediate synergies are considerable, and the long-term prospects even brighter.

Don and I both dislike the vague business speak that clouds so many corporate mergers. What does it really mean to “gain economies of scale”? Do customers really benefit, or just the shareholders? The short answer is this: everyone can benefit if the two cultures really fit, and if the focus remains on delivering outstanding value to customers first.

We firmly believe the fit is right, the timing is ideal, and the opportunities are tremendous.  And we’re ready to issue our next challenge to the competition: Try and match us for outstanding value, service, product and community that we will deliver.

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